80 new beds promised to ease trolley crisis yet to be opened
About 80 of the promised 300 new hospital beds to ease the national trolley crisis have yet to be opened, the HSE said yesterday.
Hospital emergency departments suffered a rise in overcrowding yesterday morning with 511 waiting for a bed, including 48 in St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin.
Mullingar emergency department had 32 patients waiting for a bed, while Tullamore was also badly hit.
However, the HSE said the latest data presented to the Emergency Department Taskforce Implementation Group was that the numbers on trolleys is down by 2.2pc, when compared with last year.
This is despite an average 8.7pc increase in the overall number of people attending emergency departments.
Referring to the extra beds, a HSE spokesman said, to date, 220 additional beds had been opened and a further 111 closed beds had also reopened.
"From January 1 to February 18 there were 155,148 attendances recorded across all emergency departments.
"This is an increase of 12,463 on the corresponding period in 2015, with some sites reporting significant increases, eg Mayo (20pc), Connolly Hospital (12pc), Drogheda (12pc), Waterford (11pc), Cavan (11pc), Letterkenny (15pc) and Beaumont Hospital (9pc).
"For the corresponding period the numbers of patients on trolleys at 8am has reduced from 16,503 to 16,141, a reduction of 2.2pc," said a spokesman.
The spokesman insisted the "impact on trolley numbers could have been much greater had it not been for the significant efforts made in recent months to focus on winter planning".
"Efforts remain ongoing to open beds, reduce delayed discharges and provide supports in the community to deal with the increased demand.
"The significant effort being made across the system to deal with the surge was acknowledged, with St James's Hospital, Letterkenny Hospital, Mayo General, Portiuncula, Connolly Hospital and Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda, in particular, being commended for having reduced the number of people waiting on trolleys, despite experiencing significant increases in attendances in recent weeks."
However, some hospitals have experienced significant increases in attendances by people aged over 65 - including Connolly (27pc), Tallaght (10pc), Mayo General (20pc), University Hospital Waterford (23pc) and University Hospital Limerick (14pc).